Responsible Gambling Resources for Professionals is committed to providing tools and resources necessary to make sure gambling remains fun. That’s why we’ve created this separate page for professionals who provide treatment for gambling addiction and similar issues.

On this page, you will find information and training for healthcare and addiction professionals with an interest in gambling treatment. We hope you will find these tools and resources valuable in promoting responsible gambling and helping to treat compulsive gambling.

Problem Gambling Assessment Tools

Compulsive gambling can be difficult to spot, as it is often considered a hidden addiction. However, there are a number of diagnostic and assessment tools available to medical professionals who suspect clients may have issues with gambling. The following tools may help you recognize the signs of problem gambling and confirm the existence of a gambling problem.

One simple tool is the Lie/Bet Questionnaire. This is a two-question screening tool for pathological gambling. While the Lie/Bet Questionnaire isn’t a definitive assessment, it can be used to determine if a more comprehensive screening tool is appropriate. This questionnaire requires only two questions:

  1. Have you ever had to lie to people important to you about how much you gambled?
  2. Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more money?

If an individual answers yes to either or both questions, further assessment is required.

Similarly, the Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen (BBGS) was developed by the Division on Addictions at Cambridge Health Alliance to help individuals determine on their own whether they need a more formal evaluation of their gambling behavior.

Other diagnostic tools are more comprehensive. For instance, the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) is a 20-time questionnaire based on DSM criteria for pathological gambling. It may be self-administered, or be administered by either a professional or nonprofessional interviewer.

Accreditation for Gambling Counsellors

The Canadian Problem Gambling Certification Board (CPGCB) offers certification to ensure problem gambling clients and their families receive quality assistance from ethically sound, trained, and experienced counsellors who specialize in problem gambling.

Applicants for certification may include addictions counsellors, social workers, private counsellors, credit counsellors, and family or youth counsellors, among others. Both those counselling problem gamblers and/or their family members may apply for certification. Al applicants must meet the Standards Criteria set by the Canadian Problem Gambling Certification Board.

To apply, an applicant must first complete the application package. This can be downloaded from the CPGCB website, or can be mailed or emailed to counsellors. Once submitted with a partial fee of $100, the application will be reviewed by a committee of certified members.

If accepted, the applicant will receive written approval. At that time, the applicant must pay the remaining balance of $200. After payment is made, the counsellor will receive a certification certificate by mail, and can legally use the Canadian Problem Gambling Certification (CPGC) designation.

Once approved, a counsellor is certified for two years. All Canadian Problem Gambling Counsellors must meet Re-Certification Criteria every two years in order to maintain their status. The CPGCB also offers certifications for Gambling Information Specialists and International Certified Gambling Counselors.

Charitable Gambling

Charitable gambling, which consists of games like bingo, raffles, and 50/50 drawings, plays an important role in many Canadian communities. These games not only provide social benefits by bringing people together, they also raise proceeds that benefit community organizations such as sports and recreational clubs, local charities, and other non-profit organizations.

Canadian Federal law allows charitable organizations to hold raffles and fundraisers, but the specific legal requirements vary by province. For instance, Alberta has a unique charitable gaming model. It is the only province where charitable organizations are licensed to conduct and manage casino events.

Those who work on the front lines of charitable gambling – including waitresses, bartenders, and bingo callers – are in a unique position to observe the behavior of participants in these games. They can both vicariously enjoy the thrill of a big win, and also see certain players for whom gambling is no longer a fun game. For those individuals, who represent a small percentage of players, severe problem gambling may develop.

As a charitable gambling operator, some simple actions can be very beneficial. Make your provincial problem gambling helpline phone number clearly visible in your establishment. Have educational brochures on problem gambling available for individuals. Working together, Canadians can help prevent the negative impacts of compulsive gambling while still supporting charitable work in their communities.